Signing Day Superlatives

Pack Pride breaks down the top sleeper, jewel, recruiter of the year and best recruiting battle won in NC State's 2011 football class.

With the class of 2011 now in the books, Pack Pride takes a look back at some of the highs and lows, jewels and sleepers of the Wolfpack's latest recruiting effort.

Biggest Recruiting Battle Victory
Defensive End Mike Rose
Hillcrest High School, Simpsonville, SC

NC State was the first school to offer Rose when they made their pledge official last spring. Several schools would follow and his recruitment became one of the Wolfpack's  most hotly contested of the year.

By the time November rolled around, Maryland had seemingly emerged as the team to beat but several visits muddied the waters for the Terrapins. There was an official visit to Louisville followed by a trip to Wake Forest. Rose would actually commit to the Deacs while on his visit. However, it was learned later that Rose committed because of the wear and tear of the recruiting process on his mother. Once she find this out, she convinced Rose to follow through with his official visit to NC State.

Rose visited the Pack and the trip put NC State over the top. He bonded with the players and defensive line coach Keith Willis, in particular. Although some thought State's desire to play him at defensive end might be a hindrance, that never became an issue.

Rose has a super motor and tremendous attitude. Physically he'll probably need a year in strength and conditioning to prepare him for division one football but Rose has the talent to emerge as a two or three year starter at defensive end for the Wolfpack.

(Past Winners: David Amerson, Asa Watson, R.J. Mattes, Desmond Roberts, and Kyle Newell)

One That Got Away
Quarterback Vad Lee (Georgia Tech Signee)
Hillside High School, Durham, NC

The Pack's goal was to land two quarterbacks in the class of 2011, a pro-style quarterback as well as a dual-threat. State appeared to be in great shape with Lee early on and after the Wolfpack's camp last June may have been the team to beat.

Former Wolfpack linebackers coach Andy McCollum, now at Georgia Tech, headed up the Jacket's recruiting of Lee and was able to gain a foot hold in his recruitment. After a trip to Atlanta, the Wolfpack's lead all but vanished with Georgia Tech moving to the front. Tech promised Lee that they would alter their offense to take advantage of Lee's passing skills and he bit. In August, Lee made his commitment to the Yellow Jackets official.

Lee would go on to put together a tremendous senior season, culminating in a state title for Hillside and an appearance in the Shrine Bowl. Although State would stay in touch, they never became a serious factor in Lee's recruiting. Because of the Pack's needs at quarterback and the lack of options on the board, the miss with Lee was one of the biggest of the year for NC State.

(Past Winners: Reggie Wilkins, Edwin Herbert, Nick Becton, Matt Simms, and Dorian Munroe)

Curiosity Factor
Athlete Maurice Morgan
North Lenoir High School, La Grange, NC lists Morgan as an outside linebacker and that is just one of many positions that he could potentially play in college. He starred at running back in high school but could just as easily play wide receiver. If offense doesn't work out, it wouldn't be surprising to see Morgan moved to safety.

Morgan showed up at NC State's camp last summer as a virtual unknown but it didn't take long for him to catch the eye of the Wolfpack coaching staff. Blessed with tremendous size and a D-1 physique already, Morgan ran a blazing 40 yard dash and then followed that up with a solid work out in one on ones. Like with Earl Wolff a couple of years earlier, Morgan was the unknown that seemingly came out of nowhere to land an NC State offer. He wasted no time in accepting.

Because he played on such a bad team, Morgan never received much press during his senior year and it's hard to know exactly what impact he may have on the next level. Teams could game plan to shut him down in high school which made life difficult for Morgan this past year to say the least.

If Morgan proves he can run routes and catch the ball consistently, he'll likely end up at wide receiver. If that doesn't happen, look for him to start out at safety on defense. Already he's probably bigger than the majority of defensive backs State puts on the field currently. If he can pick up on the coverage schemes and prove he doesn't mind the physicality of playing safety, Morgan has the potential to grow into a big time defender down the road.

(Past Winners: Theo Rich, Darryl Cato-Bishop, Ahmad Jaradat, and Audie Cole)

Crown Jewel
Kicker Niklas Sade
Wakefield (NC) High School, Raleigh, North Carolina

We've been picking jewels of the class for the last ten years or so and this is the first time a kicker has ever been listed. However, if you're going to pick one then Sade certainly measures up. rates Sade the No. 3 kicker in the nation while kicking guru Chris Sailer tabbed him as the nation's fourth best. Wolfpack head coach Tom O'Brien went so far as to call him the best high school kicker in the country.

Sade emerged as the Pack's top target at kicker even before he put together a great performance at State's camp last summer. He is one of those kickers that seems to crush the ball every time he kicks it. Sade gets tremendous lift and depth on his kickoffs and has the potential to be a 50+ type field goal kicker at NC State.

It's that kind of potential that led Nebraska to offer him last summer. To the surprise of some, Sade actually committed to the Huskers but after an official visit to Lincoln, decided he wasn't crazy about picking up and moving.

The Pack had given up on Sade and hadn't been in touch with him for weeks. However, a phone call to recruiting coach Jerry Petercuskie had to put a smile on the Pack's special team's coach's face.

Sade officially visited State and promptly changed his commitment to the Pack. Originally born in Germany, he didn't like the thought of uprooting yet again and moving to a strange place and that played to the Wolfpack's advantage.

Sade will bring an NFL-caliber leg to NC State. While strength and distance aren't a concern, Sade has to work on his consistency. If he can grow into a player that can combine his natural leg strength with accuracy, finesse and consistency, Sade can become a big time contributor on this team. Because of the Wolfpack's needs at the position, the NC State coaches will be hoping that happens sooner versus later.

(Past Winners: Rob Crisp, Bryan Underwood, Mike Glennon, George Bryan, Andre Brown, T.A. McLendon, Mario Williams, and DeMario Pressley)

Class Sleeper
Defensive Tackle Ty McGill
Wayne County High School, Jesup, GA

Persistence pays off in recruiting because you never know when and where you'll catch a break. That was certainly the case with McGill and NC State. The Pack loved his talent and potential and stayed on him although they could never be sure if McGill would get the necessary test scores to qualify as a freshman. When he did, State wasted no time in extending an offer.

The Wolfpack quickly set up an official visit for late January and that move help to stave off charges by both Georgia Tech and Miami. After completing his official visit in Raleigh, McGill committed to the Pack.

McGill has tremendous lower body strength and moves remarkably well for his size. Because of his motor McGill is consistently around the ball and has a knack for being disruptive in the backfield. Clearly he'll need to get stronger and develop his game but the upside is definitely there for him to grow into a solid player for defensive line coach Keith Willis down the road.

(Past Winners: Logan Winkles, Deion Roberson, T.J. Graham, Curtis Underwood, Manny Lawson, Jamesly Jean, Jeremy Gray, and Matt Kushner)

Recruiter Of The Year
Recruiting Coordinator/Special Teams Coach Jerry Petercuskie

NC State knew ahead of time that they needed to shore up their special team's squad and who better to lead the charge than special team's coach Jerry Petercuskie.

The Pack was able to address three key facets of their special teams. Petercuskie was able to land the nation's No. 2 long snapper in Scott Thompson, the No. 3 kicker in the nation with Niklas Sade and the No. 3 punter in the nation with Wil Baumann. NC State set out to improve their special teams from top to bottom and couldn't have done better with this trio.

Petercuskie didn't stop with special teams, however. State also needed instant depth at defensive end and he was able to secure JUCO all-american McKay Frandsen. Frandsen his a high-motor player that has a great football IQ and he should be able to find a spot on the field in 2011.

He also landed a commitment from previous Maryland commitment, Rodman Noel. Petercuskie was familiar with Noel from his Boston College days when the Eagles signed his brother, Jim Noel. Noel may actually be one of the few class of 2011 signees that challenges for playing time in 2011.

Add in our "curiosity factor" pick of Maurice Morgan and Petercuskie was able to land a six pack of talent for NC State. That equated to nearly a third of the Wolfpack's entire recruiting class being brought in by one coach.

(Past Winners: Mike Reed, Jim Bridge, Tom O'Brien, entire Pack staff, Joe Pate, Curt Cignetti, and Doc Holliday)

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